Most Koreans not ready for retirement: Survey

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Most Koreans not ready for retirement: Survey

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The average Korean is not properly preparing for retirement, according to a study released yesterday by Samsung Life Retirement Research Center.

In a survey of 1,782 adults, respondents were asked about a series of criteria related to retirement, such as finances, health and personal relationships. Those scoring less than 50 were classified as “at risk,” those with 50 to 69 were in need of attention and those with 70 or more were rated well prepared. On the whole, respondents averaged 56.7.

The biggest problem area the survey turned up is finances. According to the report, more than half of respondents said they had saved less than 30 percent of the money they need for retirement.

Fewer than 40 percent of Korean adults are subscribed to private retirement or pension programs, with about 60 percent only paying into the public pension system.

The report warned that too many people’s savings are overly concentrated in real estate, which will be a problem for retirees if the property market declines. It advised people to better balance their savings.

The National Pension Research Institute last year reported that the average couple will need a minimum of 1.3 million won ($1,205) to get by after retirement, or 770,000 won for an individual.

To maintain a more comfortable lifestyle, the institute recommends about 1.8 million won for couples and 1.1 million won for individuals.

Many people also reported being unsure about how they would spend their time after retirement. Only 14 percent of respondents said they know what they want to do, while about 39 percent said they have almost no hobbies.

In terms of personal health, more than half of respondents said they do nothing except for trying to quit smoking. About 26 percent answered they make no efforts to maintain their health.

On the other hand, Koreans showed relatively better preparation in maintaining close relationships with families and friends. However, the report suggested that 63 percent needed to expand their spectrum of relationships. By age group, respondents in their 50s and 60s were best prepared, with 14 percent scoring in the “well prepared” category.

“Getting ready for retirement is not just about money,” said Ko Hye-jin, a researcher at Samsung Life Retirement Research Center. “Koreans are insufficiently prepared overall for the life after retirement.”


BY KIM JI-YOON [jiyoon.kim@joongang.co.kr]

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